Thursday, April 01, 2010

'K' is for "Keep The Faith" - Alphabe Thursday, 4-1-10

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday

I've really been on an emotional roller coaster lately!  Dealing with the stroke and cardiac problems of my elderly mother and, getting her settled in an extended  care facility in Georgia, have been almost overwhelming, especially at a time when there should be so much happiness in our family.  My middle son, Alex, will be getting married in just a little over a month and he and his two brothers - and about twenty other testosterone-laden males of the species are bound for a three night sojourn in Las Vegas, starting tomorrow.

That will the locale for Alex's "bachelor" party.  My youngest and oldest sons will be driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas with a few of the other guys and a car laden with various types of alcohol ( non of it the medicinal kind ), snacks, and essentials to tide them through the weekend.  Alex, who lives in Sacramento, will fly to Las Vegas ( I think his bride-to-be feels it might be safer that way!  Perhaps she saw the movie, "The Hangover" ).

On their return, my oldest son, Shawn, who is now 39-years-old and has been an Air Force reservist for about 16 years, will be reporting to Travis Air Force Base, sixty miles north of San Francisco to await deployment with his C17 squadron ( he is an electrical engineer and works on the navigation systems for the aircraft ) to Afghanistan.  I don't want him to go.  It isn't the first time he's been activated.  In the last eight years, he's spent about three years total active duty time, most of it at Travis, replacing active military troops that went to Iraq.  He did go to Kuwait for four months and spent about six weeks on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean but, in those spots, he was pretty safe.  Afghanistan is a different story altogether.  There is a war going on and while Shawn tells me his planes will be kept in the "green" zone, I don't really think any place is that safe!  Mortars and rockets know no boundaries and, it seems to me, the Taliban and other insurgents relish attacking the "green" zone. 

I know Shawn is an adult and he made this choice to be in the reserves - I come from a military family ( my stepfather retired as an Infantry full colonel with three tours of duty in Viet Nam ) so I do understand.  Having just been in my home town of Columbus and neighboring, Ft. Benning, Georgia, it just broke my heart talking to young men and women, who looked barely old enough to be out of high school, heading off to deploy in Iraq or Afghanistran. 

Shawn has been an incredible son and big brother.  He is eleven years older than Alex and thirteen years older than Jeremy.  Their father left the family after I had extensive back surgery and never saw or supported them.  If it hadn't been for Shawn, I wonder if  we would have made it!  Every day, he would take the boys to a sitter on the way to school and pick them up in the afternoon.  I couldn't lift the little ones so Shawn took over their care ( they were one and three at the time of my surgery ).  He got me through that year and a half of disabililty and he's been there for me all of his life.

The other nice thing about him is that he's an electrical engineer and he knows all about computers.  The first time I had him add more memory to my old computer, I was really anxious when I saw the parts all over the table.  Exasperated, he looked at me and said, "Mom, if the Air Force lets me work on the computer systems for the C5, I think I can handle this HP."  Go figure, to me, he'll always be my first born, the cutest little toddler...and I'm scared for him to be in Afghanistan.  Now, I have to go get a towel because I'm bawling like crazy.  Good thing I'm downstairs and the boys are upstairs. 

Whenever I start worrying, Shawn just tells me, "Mom, you've got to keep the, that's why this Alphabe Thursday "K" is for "keep the faith" - I'll try but I'll be worrying for the whole year and I guess I'd better not watch the news.  I've been mourning for all the sad loss of life in Afghanistan and Iraq but now things are going to feel much more personal to me.

The saddest thing of all is that Shawn will probably be deployed before his brother's wedding May 7th and he was to be best man.  Alex said nobody can replace Shawn so he'll just get married without a best man if Shawn isn't here.

Tonight, I made a special dinner - Mediterranean trout - since the kids leave tomorrow for Vegas and don't get back till late Sunday and Shawn may have to report to Travis on Monday.
I am really going to miss that kid!!  He is the best company.  We sit and chat late at night, over a glass of wine, talking about travel, music, and politics.

I MUST keep the faith that he'll be back, safe and sound, in a year and, hopefully, he won't have changed too much from the experience.  I hope all of you will keep him, and our other troops, in your prayers.

Well, I guess there will be more wine for me now...but I'd rather be sharing!

Mediterranean trout

Jeremy, my impudent youngest son, telling me, "No more blog photos, Mom"

He finally gave in - so we could eat!

Shawn with his heavy beard!!!  Some folks think he looks like George Clooney.


  1. Wow, you really have a lot of things going on in your life. Good luck to Shawn. I think like he said you have to keep the faith. Hope things go well with him, the wedding and your mom. Life can be so stressful sometimes.

  2. Carmen, Shawn is much more handsome than Clooney. I worry about him too. But, he's right, you have to keep the faith. He will be fine, Carmen xoxo

  3. Handsome boys, Carmen. May they be all be back soon, together and in good health. You'll soon expand your family and won't be the only woman around. Keeping the Faith!

  4. hi carmen, i´ll keep shawn in my prayers. i´m sure this year will fly by and he´ll be back safe and sound before you know it... and. um, yeah, he does look a little like george:) sending you a big hug!

  5. Carmen, your son Shawn sounds like a prince. What a blessing to have such nice sons. Like you, my kids are everything to me. I understand your anxiety, but keep the faith. In his favor, your son is mature and probably wiser for his years than the younger boys who are also serving in Afghanistan.

    And he does look a bit like George Clooney. Cute!

  6. Oh I feel for you right now. I am sorry to hear about the failing health of your mother. I wish I could just give you a hug and tell you all will be okay. You have gorgeous sons, I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. I will pray for your sons safe return, and for strength to help you get through this, keep the faith.

  7. keep the faith is a great saying to live by :D

  8. Your sons are truly handsome!

    You have a lot going on right now, is right! But worry won't change a bit of it. It will only make you physically ill. What will change things is lots and lots of prayer and the loving support of your friends and family.

    God bless you all; Shawn especially.

  9. Nice to meet you Carmen, and thanks for sharing your heart. It's a special person who serves his country, and a special Mama to let him go. You have my respect and admiration (and yes, ok, I oohed over your gorgeous sons, who are far better than George Clooney any day. I'm a sucker for a man in uniform. Grew up spending summers in Annapolis next to the Naval Academy...) I'm looking forward to getting to know you better. Cheers from wine wineaux to another!

  10. Oh Carmen, I can feel your anxiety, I haven't met a mom yet who would not. But you are so blessed to have your sons who live the faith and keep the strength, am sure having them around strengthens you each day, i will keep you, your mom, Shawn, and your family in my prayers. best wishes to the wedding, and i admire your story about Shawn, it is very touching and inspiring, it makes me remember my eldest brother too who always extended himself to us so we all can finish college.

  11. Your story made me think of the Hangover also. My Mom is struggling with Alzheimer's, I worry about her all the time. She is a woman of strong faith, however, so your post is a reminder to me not to forget that!

    Loved it..xxoo....

  12. I wish good luck to both your mother and your son.

  13. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Wishing to be able to send you all the strength I own.

    Please have a nice Friday.

  14. I hope your Mom gets better. My wife's mother suffered a stroke about two weeks before we arrived in the Philippines to be with her, but she is doing great now.

    I salute your son for his service to our military. My Dad was in the Korean War, and I was born when he was a Flight Crew Chief over there going on recon missions. Of course you are going to worry, and I pray that he will make it home safe and sound. I am sure he will. You have so much to be proud of.

  15. wow, you are dealing with a whole lot right now ... your sons are so handsome, and I'm sure all will be well ... and what wonderful words to live by, what a strong strong man you have raised!

  16. Viki -
    Since Jan 2008, I've been going downhill. In a freak winter storm, two blocks from the hospital, a huge tree fell and totaled my van, me inside ( I'd just paid it off ). Unbelievably, I wasn't hurt. Then a year later, I lost my job of 21 years in the massive San Franciso budget cuts. Next, all my mom's health problems and some of my own...let's hope it stops here.

    Poetic Shutterbug -
    Well, I wish Shawn had a little of George Clooney's money! He'll be taking his guitar to Afghanistan...too bad he couldn't have played with Jerry a little and learned some Sony songs..but his genre is just not jazz. That dummy.

    lakeviewer -
    I'll be really happy if I have a grandaughter by this time next year...even a grandson would be nice!

    jane -
    I can't afford to have years fly gosh, I'll be 66-1/2 when Shawn gets home from Afghanistan.

    steviewren -
    I think my other two sons are really going to feel Shawn's absence as much as I do, especially the youngest - Jeremy's had him around so much of his life. When he left to go to basic training and tech school, Jeremy was in middle school and that's the only time in his life his grades took a slump!

    cinner -
    I'll take a long distance hug and all the prayers you can spare. Thanks for your sweet message.

    laterg8r -
    I'm keeping the faith.

    My Name is P.J. -
    I'll try to follow your advice and keep the worry to a minimum. I already have a gastric ulcer and I sure don't want to make it worse! Your words of support help.

    Tina -
    It's nice to meet you. I'm an Army brat from Ft. Benning, GA so I am so familiar with military life. Did you ever go to any of the Annapolis "hops" when you were a teenager? I loved it when the West Pointers came to Benning and we could go.

    Oh, and I do LOVE wine.

    betchai -
    You are the dearest. I feel so much better with all the support and love from you and my good blogging friends. I'll keep you posted on all the goings on. The wedding should be a really joyful time. My brother and his wife, my only family, will come out from Atlanta though my two nephews can't make it. I'm sure the boys are carrying on right now at the bachelor party in Vegas!

    Rocky Mountain Woman -
    It is so hard to watch our loved one's age..and here I am at 65 myself. The years are rushing by.

    Ratty -
    Your good wishes mean so much to me.

    ρομπερτ -
    I may call upon that strength during the coming year!

    The Rooster Crows at 4am! -
    Thanks so much for your kindness and good wishes. I am afraid my mother is not going to improve very much. Rehab declined to continue treatment because she won't ( doesn't really know what's going on, really, and can't stay awake through any of it ) so now Medicare will not pay beyond the first month. The $6000/month will now be paid out of pocket until all her savings are gone, then the Medicaid applications will be completed to pitch in once her resources are completely exhausted. It is so sad, all of this.

  17. My goodness, what handsome sons you have! You must be so proud of them. As the wife of a former soldier, I know what it's like to send someone you love off to war. My prayers are with you. Such a crazy time this is for you-- on the one hand a wedding, and on the other your mother is having health problems and your other son is being deployed.

  18. What handsome sons you have. I can't even imagine all the thoughts and concern and aching of your heart. I hope Shawn doesn't have to leave before the wedding. He sounds like a huge support in your family. I wish Alex all safety and joy in his wedding preparations and celebrations. Praying for you all and our service people overseas.

  19. You've share so much of your heart, and my prayer is with you and your family.

    Shawn is a handsome man, Carmen! He looks a bit like you.

  20. I feel for you. I have two sons. They haven't had to go to war but they have gone elsewhere and they are al but lost to me. Keep the faith, do keep the faith.

  21. Your post brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for your generosity, I can't imagine what it would be like. Your sons are certainly handsome! I will say a prayer for you all today.

  22. I can understand what you must be going through with your Mom. I moved my Dad to a nursing home last summer. He's got Alzheimer's and is pretty much gone mentally. I'm always relieved when a day goes by and the facility hasn't called me about some kind of problem. Yesterday he tipped over the wheelchair!

    Yes, keep the faith! My thoughts and prayers are with Shawn...and you.

  23. OHHH
    I love these photos of your sons!
    Oh my! How old is Jeremy?
    Just wondering... LOL

  24. I am saying prayers for you and your family...Keeping the faith can be hard but I know you can do it! Happy Easter to you and your family...Melinda